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Redox Biol. 2018 Jul;17:355-366. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.05.005. Epub 2018 May 14.

The relationship between standard reduction potentials of catechins and biological activities involved in redox control.

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Department of Food Chemistry, Technology and Biotechnology, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland. Electronic address:
Department of Physical Chemistry, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland.
Department of Food Chemistry, Technology and Biotechnology, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland.
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland.


Redox homeostasis involves factors that ensure proper function of cells. The excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) leads to oxidative stress and increased risk of oxidative damage to cellular components. In contrast, upon reductive stress, insufficient ROS abundance may result in faulty cell signalling. It may be expected that dietary antioxidants, depending on their standard reduction potentials (E°), will affect both scenarios. In our study, for the first time, we systematically tested the relationship among E°, chemical properties, and biological effects in HT29 cells for a series of structurally different catechins and a major endogenous antioxidant - glutathione (GSH), at both physiological and dietary concentrations. Among chemical antioxidant activity tests, the strongest correlation with E° was seen using a DPPH assay. The values of E° were also highly correlated with cellular antioxidant activity (CAA) values determined in HT29 cells. Our results indicated that physiological concentrations (1-10 µM) of tested catechins stabilized the redox status of cells, which was not exhibited at higher concentrations. This stabilization of redox homeostasis was mirrored by constant, dose and E° independent CAA values, uninhibited growth of HT29 cells, modulation of hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage, as well as effects at the genomic level, where either up-regulation of three redox-related genes (ALB, CCL5, and HSPA1A) out of 84 in the array (1 µM) or no effect (10 µM) was observed for catechins. Higher catechin concentrations (over 10 µM) increased CAA values in a dose- and E°-dependent manner, caused cell growth inhibition, but surprisingly did not protect HT29 cells against reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced DNA fragmentation. In conclusion, dose-dependent effects of dietary antioxidants and biological functions potentially modulated by them may become deregulated upon exposure to excessive doses.


Catechins; Oxidative stress; Redox homeostasis; Standard reduction potential

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